The Heineken Urban Polo was a big hit at Hagley Park, Christchurch on Saturday afternoon with the weather absolutely perfect for the big crowd who streamed in to enjoy the afternoon’s entertainment.
Many spectators had never seen a game of polo before, and they were certainly able to get close to the action. The urban polo concept uses soft balls (just as well, as a few went out into the crowd and on to tent roofs!), teams of three players, and just four chukkas to a game.
The tournament was won by the Sportscraft team, Sam Hopkinson, Marcus Beresford and George Cooper-Dixon. Other players involved included three of the Wood family (Charlie, Jimmy and Henry), Ollie Tuthill, Sam Stott, Pete Dormer, Sam Martin and young Lachie Appleby, to name a few.
There was plenty of action for the well-dressed and well-behaved crowd to enjoy, with music pumping and the sponsor’s products available for consumption.
The Canterbury crowd really dressed up for the occasion, with a great display of colourful clothing. From frills, florals and flounces to crocheted or revealing, the women’s outfits looked great. Those on high heels tottered around the park, with many abandoning their fashion-statement shoes for the barefoot look later in the day. Hats were the must-have accessory and even a few fascinators came out.
The men also spruced up well, one kilted spectator was spotted, and plenty looked great in paisley and pinks – colourful outfits galore!
The crowd really enjoyed the beginning of the chukkas, where a member of each team started from behind the goal to have a ride-off. The first to the ball got the hit and away the game went. The action took the players and ponies right to the crowd, and the hand-slapping at the end was well received.
There were some great ponies and players showing what the sport is all about, and the crowd certainly gained an appreciation of the skill that is required.
When the on-field action had finished, the crowd moved to the “After Dark” party – which was a great night, from what we have heard – although for others (including me), the after-match cup of tea at home was just what was needed.
There are more photos available for viewing and purchase on this link.